The devastating heat wave that struck southern Pakistan last weekend is slowly subsiding but the toll was still climbing Thursday, to a total of 860 confirmed deaths, a senior health official said.
Pakistan’s deadliest heat wave on record comes just weeks after soaring temperatures caused nearly 2,200 deaths in neighboring India, raising fears that South Asia could be seeing some of the devastating effects of human-caused climate change.
The crisis centered in the southern port city of Karachi was worsened by poor local services, including a faulty power grid and shortages of potable water. And the heat wave struck as the city’s Muslim majority was observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan.
Jam Mehtab Hussain, the provincial health minister in the southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, said that despite lower temperatures people were still being admitted to hospitals with heat-related ailments — though in smaller numbers than in previous days.
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